Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Watery Essex

The above is not the Four Horses of Apocalypse, it is  four charging horses pulling a chariot above the Wellington Arch in London, but to me as I looked up at them all those months ago they represented chaos and anarchy in their plunging hooves.  Yesterday driving through a very wet Essex, saturated fields, overflowing rivers and deep fords and thinking about those poor people on the Somerset Levels, nature is being both chaotic and anarchistic in its dealings with humankind at the moment.  
There is also the 'incident' that blew up in the last few days when the Ukrainian people overthrew their government and Russia's startling move in Crimea, still hanging by a thread of diplomacy.  For me it is always the story we tell ourselves, how we see it and how others see it.  For me Putin is a childish tyrant, given to exhibitionism, ready to stamp on any dissent, but Russian history must play an important role in how the game must be played.  Watching the Ukraine soldiers march up to the Russian soldiers who had taken over their camp, and you ask yourselves is this bravery or foolishness? The shots were only fired above their heads, no one thankfully wants blood on the ground at the moment.  But it fills our news, our government shown up for not  wanting sanctions, or that b***** thing called the stock market imperilled by the movements of war.  Not being able to stand up for what is morally right or ethical is the usual state for this government, Cameron not meeting the Dalai Lama because China has forbade it comes to mind.  My solution is to have another band before our parliamentarians, they should be philosophers able to point the difference between what is right and wrong......
But back to the little River Ter, now winding itself through Nounsley, we stopped where we usually walk, but the river had flooded the field and was already creating another path, this must be how rivers move over the centuries, a loop created by a small island or large tree directs a different course. Muddy waters, fields saturated and leaking water that runs in rivulets down the lanes.

The village of Nounsley has no heart, no church, no shop just a stretch of houses that follow the lanes, we park up and walk down the lane to the ford, even from a distance as the water starts to creep up the road you can see that at its deepest the ford is three foot under water, and we were told had reached four feet high.   It is a gentle brown swirling river at this point, the old willow to the right is already showing that yellow-green in its overhanging branches, sure sign of spring.  Walking back up we stop to talk to someone working in his garden, me commenting on the bumble bees I see, apparently there are quite a few in his garden.  He tells the tale of a John Lewis van driving into the ford and of course being stuck, he went down to take a photo of the two men sitting foolishly in the van, where their commonsense had gone heaven knows their are four clear signs showing the depths of the water!

One day I shall take more photos of Essex houses, but only briefly glimpses from the car, even hidden under modern additions they still retain their old form.


  1. The farmer and I were talking this morning, wondering how Essex had fared in the floods. We have farming friends in Thaxted and I wrote to them earlier today to ask how they were doing - then, by coincidence, I read your blog.

  2. Well I'm not sure how the land round Thaxted has fared but in this neck of the wood, in the fields water lies on the surface. They grow a lot of sugar beet round here too using heavy machinery, which I'm sure is not good for the ground.

  3. The power of water is so terrifying. So many of us have a fear of pathological drowning. I replied to your comment, in case you don't go back, saying how lovely it would be if you could stop off on your way to Cornwall sometime and come out with me to see those reeves and stone rows.

  4. Hi Em, I would love to come and visit you, but it all depends on the driver and the journey, will keep in touch anyway, you are by Chagford I think? And of course if we ever move down we should be able to day visit you and explore Dartmoor, which I think I like better that the Cornish moors...